Clicking on any of the pictures will open them at full size in the browser window, which means you will have to use the 'back' button to return to the main pages, whereas clicking to the left or right of any picture will open them in a new window, if you fancy a closer look at any of the piccies we've posted! We've included a Google Earth satelite picture of our plots and this years planting plan at the bottom of the page, next to each other. If you choose the Earth view on the satelite image you can rotate the image until it is lined up with the planting plan, then use the arrows in the plan to scroll from Plot 2 to Plot 1.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Both plots now almost fully planted!

So, the antibiotics worked, I'm still here, tho the bites have taken a while to go down! We've seen some more of the wee beasties that bit me, and they definitely are striped, tho whether they are officially mozzies or rather some sort of nefarious wee beastie we're still not sure, but anyhows, on to the latest plot updates!

After Lee decided that he wanted to rejig our original plot (officially plot 2) to tie it into the new plot, he's been working hard to sort it out, whilst I've been working hard on getting our crops sown and the seedlings / plantlets planted out! After an 11 hour day on the plot yesterday (on our day off), I am now in a position to say that the new plot (officially plot 1) is fully under cultivation, every bed now has growing crops in it! Not only that, but almost all of the paths have been lined and barked up too!

Our original plot now has some extra paths in it, the beds are edged and only awaiting some more bark chippings to be delivered to the site before it too is almost fully finished too! All but 2 beds are now cleared and planted, and there's now only another 4 cross paths to edge and line before barking them up!

As you can see from this piccy taken from the left of both our plots (looking towards plots 2 and 1) there's now only the 2 beds (under the cardboard in the center) to get cleared and planted!

Another panorama, from the shed area of plot 1 looking towards the back of plot 2. All plot 1 is now under cultivation!

Plot 1

Believe it or not, we've only had this plot for 5 weeks now, having taken it over on the 8th of May 08, and it was in a right state too! Thanks to hard work from Lee (and some help from me), in only 5 weeks its gone from a mess of weed infested beds and weed filled paths to a full plot under full cultivation!

This first run of beds on plot 1 (from the rear where the piccy was taken to the front where Lee's car is parked) has the plastic greenhouse behind the piccy viewpoint, then in front there's a bed of swift sweetcorn and chestnut squashes, a bed of 190 leeks, a bed of ovation sweetcorn and pumkpins, 2 beds of spring sown onions from seed, a small bed of celery, then the greenhouse and beyond the greenhouse a bed of outdoor toms, a bed of jack be little pumpkins, 2 beds of celery (Lee slipped when planting a tray of celery, so we have rather a lot growing!) and a bed of foxgloves, the only flower bed on the plot!

The second run of beds on plot 1 has from front to rear - 2 beds of courgettes (with catch crops of radish, beetroot and spring onions, a bed of sweetcorn and pumpkins, a large bed of carrots, a large bed of pumpkins and squashes, a bed of peas / beans (victorian purple podded peas, borlotti beans and carlin peas) and a bed of brassicas at the back!

As can be seen here, the first planting of sweetcorn and squashes seem to be doing ok!

The 190 leeks, I cut the holes thru the cardboard in the hopes that it will keep watering down and suppress the weeds in the leek bed, so far it seems to be working fine!

The grapevine on the shed on plot 1! Growing away nicely, looks like we're going to have to give it a prune soon! Longer term we are thinking of adding a gazebo to the front of the shed to allow the grapevine to be trailed over the top of it, giving more light and air in the hopes that it may even further increase the potential harvest!

Not sure if you can see them, but look closely and you'll see the grapes beginning to form!

This is the carrot bed on plot 1, there's still another bed of carrots to go onto the other plot, once its been cleared and edged! To the right of the piccy you can see the 3 brassica beds that have been made from the large brassica bed, covered in netting to prevent wabbits and cabbage whites from reaching the crops!

Plot 2

Growing away nicely, here we've a piccy of the overwintering onions and garlic, methinks that we'll be harvesting these soon! We're going to split this bed (after they've been harvested) down the middle, then after it's been manured, we'll be using it for the spring cabbages that are due to be sown this weekend, ready for planting out once the onions are harvested!

This first bed on plot 2 has the large greenhouse on it, with a small bed in front of it that we are going to use for seed crops (we'll put leeks / parsnips / shallots etc that we want ot save seed from in it next year!), then in front of them are 2 largish brassic beds, then the goosegog bed and then the fedge and strawberry beds!

As you can see here, the new paths between the brassica beds are aligned with the paths on plot 1, tying them in nicely together! We've still 2 paths to put into the central bed on plot 2 to tie that in (the grass to the center of the cardboard directly in front of the camera), but we're hoping to get them finished very soon now!

The goosegog bed, we've only got the weed control fabric and bark chippings left to do on this bed, unfortunately the site has run out of bark chippings at present (tho they are on order, so hopefully we'll be able to get this and the other paths finished by the end of our holidays (hols a week on Monday fro 2 weeks, I cant wait!)) Behind the goosegogs is the central bed that we've still got 2 beds to dig and 2 paths to lay, then the beanery!

The Beanery! To the left of the piccy (out of shot) are some dwarf french beans, then 2 double rows of rondo pea and 2 double rows of early onward pea, then in the piccy are scarlet runner beans, early onward peas, enorma runner beans, then this years seeds bed and some more dwarf french beans! The 'paths' are reinforced concrete slabs that were inherited at the bottom of this plot, we dragged them out and placed them to keep the paths between the beans weed free, even tho at 12" by 8' and 4" thick they were a right pain to move!

The last bed in the beanery, with the broad beans (2 types) mange tout and yingyang beans, with the fartichoke bed visible to the right! The bed immediately to the right of the first bed of beans has more spring sown onions from seed in it! I know the broadies are a bit behind, but the first direct sowing didnt germinate at all (too cold perhaps) and with having to clear the other plot we were late in getting them sown!

A view looking forwards, showing just how much is left to clear, not much more now!!!


A piccy of the inside of the larger greenhouse on plot 2, we've toms at 2" and cuces at 3" in here, plus lots of plants doing rather well!

Another more closer view of the left side, strangely this side grew better than the other side last year, and seems to be doing so again this year, strange!

Inside the plastic greenhouse on plot 1, looks like a possible good harvest of tomatoes this year methinks!

The greenhouse on plot 1 is coming along nicely, as are the toms and chillies in the greenhouse at home, they are both at a stage somewhere between the large greenhouse and the plastic greenhouse!

Still to do!

Well, with getting the new plot up to scratch and tying the 2 plots together we've sadly neglected the strawberry bed and adjoining fedge, so one of our priorities once all the planting is done is to weed and remove the bed, then replant the strawbs thru weed control fabric and to then bark it up to attempt to keep the weeds under control and increase our potential harvest for next year! This may reduce the strawb harvest this year, but we both agree it needs to be done asap!

Another are we need to sort out is the pond area and the 'wall' between the pond and the manure pile, it got damaged in high winds not so long back and needs rebuilding, one of those jobs that will be nice to do, but only once we've got everything growing for this year! In the meantime it makes a lovely 'shabby chic' wildlife area!

The next priority is to finish off digging this middle bed and get the paths in it (the areas under cardboard in ine with my MINI), once thats completed, then all of plot 2 will also be under cultivation, quite a feat considering the upheaval with taking over an unused second plot and after already clearing the other half plot (which we are in the process of giving up - another tennant has taken it on - and is doing a fab job - but we've still got spring sown onion sets and all our spuds on there, so we wont be fully finished with it until they have been harvested (we are splitting the harvest with the new tennant!))

Well, thats us up to date for the moment, hope you're crops are growing well! Further updates to follow soon!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A great day on the plot!

Well, it seems like there's a new threat out there on the plots, the 'super mozzie' aka Tiger Mosquitto's!! I got badly bitten on Monday night when I nipped down to the plot after work to plant out the last of the sweetcorn and 6 more squashes! The 6 bites have become inflamed, itch like hell and rather nasty, so we rang the Dr's first thing this morning, to be asked if we could come in straight away! Got to the Dr's, he took one look and said it was badly infected insect bites, and was given high strength Antibiotics and high strength antihistamines, the course of which has got to last for 30 days, AND NO ALCOFROL! I'll have gone mad by the time the course is over!!

Got to the plot for 1030am, straight from the Dr's! Mr D started clearing the weeds from the large brassica bed on our original plot, then moved 7 gooseberry bushes from one side of it into a square area, so he could add 2 cross paths. He then cut wood and fitted it to edge the paths, set up the netting over the brassicas and watered everything. He's managed to get 2 of the 3 paths in place on that bed, and it really looks good!

I started by feeding all the toms and other plants in the greenhouses, then rotorvating 2 beds, then putting up 2 pea netting supports and a cane bean support, then planting the netting with heritage Carlin Peas and Heritage Purple Podded Peas, and the bean support in the center with Borlotti climbing beans. After that I planted out another 48 broad bean seedlings (24 were planned, and 24 were from a seed packet Mr D left outside that got wet in the rain the other night!), 12 Mini D'or french beans (and netted them against the wabbits) and another 2 double rows of peas, rondo and early onwards. Finally I planted out 2 chestnut squashes that we needed to get out, which are now happily sat in the end of a courgette bed.

We left the plot at 840pm, had a great day in glorious weather, got loads done and the plots are looking great, the first bed in our original plot that now has paths in to match the new plot looks brill, and once we've put in matching paths in the other beds it will look like one huge plot, all tied in together, all paths tidy and much easier to keep on top of the smaller beds!

Lee is going to continue with path laying tomorrow, he's hoping to get the last one into the brassica bed and then to start with the middle bed (4 paths to go in) and once I get home from tomorrows Managers Meeting, then I will be rushing down the plot to plant out some more brassica seedlings and sow some catch crops of more radishes, beetroot, spring onions and lettuce!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Plans for our first plot!

So, after concentrating on clearing our new plot for the past few weeks, we've now got to decide exactly what we are doing with our first plot, the one next door! As you can see from the piccy here, its almost fully dug over (apart from about half of the large bed we used for brassicas last year - the yellow grass in the center) and already under cultivation, with about 35 brassicas, 3 rows of broad beans, 2 rows of runner beans, 2 rows of peas, a large bed of Jerusalem artichokes, about 100 garlic plants, 180 onions from set (overwintered) and about 150 onions from seed, plus of course the rhubarb, 85 raspberry canes and 300 strawberry plants!

We have kept on top of hoeing (when the weather has allowed it), but still, there's a couple of areas that we know we need to tackle (the strawberry bed is half full of weeds, where we ran out of weed control fabric for planting thru and just mulched with bark chippings), so we've decided that what we are going to do is split the largets beds (they are currently 8' to 9' wide and anything from 12' to 40' long) with the addition of more paths, to bring the bed sizes down to a more manageable size and allow us not to have to step onto them! Putting more paths in sounds like a big job, but as they will only be cross paths (between the long paths that already run front to back), then it shouldnt be that bad a job (tho there are about 18 of them to be out in!)

The addition of these paths will remove some of the growing space that we have, but will also make it much easier to keep it tidy and weed free, and allow better segregation of our crops into their own beds.

The greenhouse will be staying where it is, and as you can see here, its growing away nicely, especially after being weeded and the toms sideshooted today), with the first toms now flowering (later than last year tho) and the first cukes and peppers beginning to form! The bed behind the greenhouse that currently has brassicas and goosegogs in it will be split into 4 beds, one for the goosegogs (that we will plant thru weed control fabric and bark up to keep maintenance to a minimum) another nearest the greenhouse for those plants we wish to let run to seed for future seed harvesting (think shallots, leeks and parsnips here) and the other 2 beds will retain their brassicas, probably planted thru cardboard to keep the weeds down a bit!

The onion and garlic bed in the middle will be left alone until they are harvested, but once thats done, then this will be split in 2, and the bed behind will be split into 3, making it easier to keep clear and to move around the plot!

The last bed (furthest from the new plot) will also be split with the addition of further paths, tho not until the beans that are in have been harvested!

Also to do on this plot is to sort out the area between the pond and compost bin at the front, as it was damaged in the high winds recently, and needs looking at, so perhaps this will be the last job for us to tackle whilst on holiday at the end of June beginning of July!

So, it should look really good when we've finished, just a lot more hard work to go to get it fully there, but having the new plot has proven to be an inspiration, and hopefully once all the works are complete it should be easier to keep on top of, especially if we're planting thru cardboard and using no dig and mulches!

Strange to think that last year we were happy with this plots layout, even tho it meant we had to walk on the beds to reach everything, and now we are going with a full individual beds system!

New plot cleared and almost fully planted!

So, just 2 weeks after taking it over our new plot is now fully cleared and the paths have now been weeded and barked up! Mr D has been amazing in what he's acchieved in such a short space of time!

Another view of the cleared and almost fully planted plot! The beds in front of the greenhouse now contain 3 beds of onions from seed, 2 beds of sweetcorn and squashes, and a bed of 190 leeks! The beds to the right of the greenhouse in this piccy contain 1o courgettes, 1 bed of sweetcorn and squashes, and a large bed with 15 pumpkins and squashes in. There's still 3 beds to be planted, one of which will be for roots, another for some of the brassicas we are going to transplant from our first plot (Lee has decided he wants to put in more paths, so it matches the new plot) and one for some more beans and peas, that'll be going in this week!

At the back of the plot next to the compost bins we set up the plastic walk in greenhouse, with 5 growbags and a total of 15 tomato plants, as you can see, they are looking ok!

The grapevine on the front of the shed, lots and lots fo flowers, so potentially lots of grapes this year!

Finally, the herb bed near the greenhouse!

Plans now are to get the last few beds rotorvated and planted, then to concentrate on finishing weeding / rebarking up the paths on our other plot, then to put some more paths in to match the new plot. Hopefully this will then give us a good structure thats going to be easy to keep on top of and allow us some time to potter!

Hope your plots and crops are coming on nicely!